Investment Trends in A Well-Funded Space in the Life Sciences: Oncology Innovation Panel at RESI Europe

14 Mar

By Claire Jeong, Director of Research, Asia BD, LSN

claireWhile the life sciences industry is constantly subject to dynamic changes and trends, oncology/Immuno-oncology continues to be one of the most popular areas to invest in. Though some firms shy away from the indication due to it being an overcrowded space, there are many firms who strongly – or even solely focus – on oncology. From relatively traditional modalities such as small molecules (such as the $1B Celgene partnership with Triphase Accelerator/FACIT that happened earlier this year) to rapidly emerging approaches like oncolytic viruses and cell/gene therapy, there are still many promising therapies and novel approaches that have not yet come to light.

The Oncology Innovation panel at the upcoming RESI Europe Conference in Vienna, will highlight 5 speakers who actively seek investment opportunities in oncology. The panel will run from 1:00 – 1:50 pm on the day of RESI Europe, Monday, March 25th, 2019, so if you are a company attending RESI who is working on innovative oncology therapies, you would not want to miss out on this panel.

Here is our lineup of panelists:

Claus Andersson, General Partner, Sunstone Life Science Ventures (Moderator)
Claus Andersson is General Partner in the Life Science group and has been with the team since it was established. He has been engaged with more than 18 companies and has held either chairing positions or board memberships to share his experience from the last 16 years of working with entrepreneurs, co-investors and consultants in life sciences. Claus has extensive experience in strategy execution and technology development from various parts of the Life Science ecosystem: both as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, scientist, and corporate manager. He holds a Master’s degree in Civil Chemical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and a PhD in Mathematical Statistics from the University of Copenhagen and the Humboldt University in Berlin.

Toshiyasu Shimomura, Senior Investment Director, Taiho Ventures

Toshi Shimomura is Senior Investment Director at Bay Area-based Taiho Ventures, the corporate venture capital of Taiho Pharmaceutical. With $300M under management, Taiho Ventures invests in early stage oncology companies. Prior to Taiho Ventures, he worked for Taiho Pharmaceutical for 7 years as Early Development Team Chair of TAS-117 (a small molecule AKT inhibitor) being evaluated in Phase I study as well as Biology Project Leader at Taiho’s Tsukuba Research Institute. Before Taiho, he worked for Banyu Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Merck & Co. for 10 years. As Project Leader, he developed two clinical development candidates of Aurora A kinase and contributed initiation of Phase I clinical studies. He was also involved other kinase inhibitor programs. He received PhD in Biological Science from Nagoya University, Japan in 1999, where he learned molecular biology, cell cycle and DNA damage checkpoint regulation.

Hakan Goker, Senior Investment Director, M Ventures

Hakan Goker (Ph.D.) is a senior investment director at M Ventures, corporate venture arm of the biopharmaceutical division of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Hakan has been investing for the past 12 years and joined Merck Ventures in 2013. Previously Hakan was a partner at Aescap Venture and prior to that worked at Atlas Venture. Since 2006, Hakan was instrumental in the creation, financing, and corporate strategy of multiple biotechnology companies globally including Artios, Asceneuron, Storm, Bicycle, and F-star. Hakan received his PhD in cancer biology from the Institute of Cancer Research/ University of London and continued his scientific career with post-doctoral work at the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Centre/Royal Marsden Hospital. He gained his BSc Honours, from University College London. Hakan currently is a board member at Artios Pharma, Asceneuron, Forendo, Macrophage Pharma, Tocopherx, Synaffix, Storm Therapeutics, Raze Therapeutics and is the chairman of iOnctura.

Mark Krul, Partner, Aglaia Oncology Funds

Mark has been involved in anticancer drug development since 1993 and has a background in molecular biology and immunology. Before founding Aglaia Oncology Funds in 2004, Mark was Program Director of the NDDO Research Foundation. He held several positions at NDDO Oncology BV (formerly the EORTC New Drug Development Office) with respect to oncology drug development strategies (1997-2002). From 1993 till 1997 Mark has been Research Manager of the European Cancer Center and headed the Department of Molecular Virology at the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection from 1989 till 1993.

Katherine Cohen, Venture Partner, Panacea Venture

Dr. Katherine Cohen is a venture partner at Panacea Venture. From 2011-2016 Dr. Cohen served as CEO at Hookipa Biotech AG (now

Hookipa Pharma Inc), where she led the company founding, Series A and Series B venture financing, and developed the company from early science to clinical stage. Prior to Hookipa, Dr. Cohen served as Senior Vice President for Corporate & Business Development at Intercell AG (now Valneva SE) and participated in the growth of the company from a start up to a successful public/commercial stage enterprise. Prior to her biotech entrepreneurial career, Dr. Cohen worked in academic research and industrial development at Sandoz/VIRCC. Dr. Cohen earned her Ph.D in Biology at the City University of New York and she is a qualified European Patent Attorney.

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